We’re exicted to announce that Monica Avila Forrero is now our head of operations in Colombia. Colombia has become an important country for Magma and our startups. Over the past two years, we’ve made one investment in Colombia and many of our portfolio companies are operating there. I wrote a longer post on my blog about why we’re excited to get to know the Colombia entrepreneurial ecosystem even more:
I’m excited to welcome Mónica Ávila Forero to Magma to lead our Colombia team. Mónica, based in Bogota, has worked in the entrepreneurial ecosystem from all sides for the past 15 years: she’s started her own startups, worked with Ventures, a private NGO to build the Colombia ecosystem, and has worked closely with and mentored Colombia entrepreneurs, helping them figure out their business models, connect with potential investors and scale their businesses. I’m really excited to work with Mónica to help entrepreneurs in the Colombian market!
We’re really excited to announce that we’ve invested in Jooycar, a usage based car insurance service (UBI) that charges customers for how much and how well they drive. I wrote a more detailed post on why we invested in Jooycar and are interested in this space on my personal blog. Some highlights:
One of the biggest opportunities in Latin America is unlocking the potential in legacy industries that haven’t been disrupted yet. Insurance is one of the biggest. Many Latin American insurance products are extremely expensive compared to people’s income and compared to more developed markets. There haven’t been many new entrants into the market yet.
That’s why I’m excited to announce our investment in Jooycar, a usage based car insurance service (UBI) that charges customers for how much and how well they drive. Drivers using the Jooycar system are saving up to 30% per month on their premiums and improve their driving behavior, because they can see how well they’re driving: how often they’re speeding, turning sharply, slamming on the brakes or driving erratically.
Jooycar’s founders, Maria Paz Gillet Martin, Emilio Figueroa Torres and Mario Ugemach Marin are serial entrepreneurs who also have significant experience working with large companies. They’ve been amazing to work with so far and I’m extremely excited to work with them as they expand across Latin America in 2017.
As more Magma companies start to do business in Peru, we’ve gotten more experience learning about the Peruvian entrepreneurial ecosystem. I decided to publish a short overview of the Peruvian Venture Capital Ecosystem in hopes that it will help entrepreneurs doing business in Peru. Special thanks to Greg Mitchell, Managing Director at Angel Ventures Peru, who provided much of the research for this post. Thanks Greg! From the link:
Angel Ventures, a Mexico-based VC, has a local presence in Peru through its Angel Ventures Peru branch office. Angel Ventures Peru has sourced deals from Latin America for the regional fund, but the fund has yet to make an investment in a Peru-based company.
The Peruvian government, through the Ministry of Production has a program to support local incubators and accelerators.
Endeavor – Endeavor is a global organization that promotes high impact entrepreneurs. It arrived in Peru three years ago and has been a leader developing the ecosystem.
Wayra – Wayra Peru is part of the investment arm of Telefonica. They invest in startups generally with $50k + $25k of services for 5-10% equity on convertible notes. They prefer technology companies that can be Telefonica clients or have products that can integrate into its other solutions.
I wrote my monthly column in the Chilean daily El Mercurio about some of the interesting startups from Latin America that are starting to do business in the US. An excerpt from the English translation here (full English and Spanish versions:
A few weeks ago, COPEC, a Chilean convenience store and gasoline service station chain, acquired Delek, a US convenience store and gas station chain with 348 US locations for $535MM. COPEC has operations in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Panama, but this is their first foray into the US market. It’s an important step for Chile because it shows that both big companies and startups alike shouldn’t be scared of the US market. In fact, they should view the US market as a big opportunity to expand outside of their home markets.
For way too long, when Chilean companies large and small have wanted to expand out of Chile, they’d look at Peru, Colombia and maybe Mexico. But we’re recently seeing a big change, both by startups and by big companies like COPEC.
It’s important to show Chileans that they shouldn’t be scared of the largest market in the world and that there are opportunities to diversify outside of Latin America. At Magma, we’ve seen a multitude of entrepreneurs pitch and many of them are scared of the US. They think that the market’s too big. That it’s too competitive. That all of the problems are solved in the US and that’s its difficult to compete from Chile. In reality, it’s a lack of confidence.